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J BUON. 2009 Sep;14 Suppl 1:S165-8.

Therapeutic cancer vaccines in cervical cancer: phase I study of Lovaxin-C.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Oncology, Institute for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia.


Producing effective therapeutic vaccines has proved much more difficult and challenging than developing cancer preventive vaccines. Despite huge research in the area of cancer immunology, FDA/EMEA have not approved any type of cancer treatment vaccine so far. More than 99% of cervical cancers have detectable amounts of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA. Integration of high-risk HPV into the host cell genome is followed by continual expression of HPV E6 and E7 oncoproteins, making them excellent targets for developing vaccines which could be used in high grade precancerous (CIN) lesions or invasive cancer or in the prevention of cancer recurrence. Therapeutic cervical cancer vaccines have been extensively studied. Strategies used were vaccination with HPV peptides or proteins, alone or in pulsed dendritic cells, DNA vaccines, virus-like particles or viral and bacterial vectors. Lovaxin-C is a recombinant live-attenuated Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) that secretes the antigen HPV-16 E7 fused to a non-hemolytic listeriolysin O protein. In a phase I study Lovaxin-C was administered to advanced cervical cancer patients refractory to existing therapies. The dose-limiting toxicity was hypotension and flue-like syndrome. There were no serious adverse events. Specific T-cell response was detected as well as clinical response to Lovaxin-C. Several other therapeutic HPV vaccines are in clinical development and in most of the studies specific immunological and clinical responses were seen. Efficacious therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of cervical cancer should be expected in the near future.

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